LA TIMES – Obama handling health care wrong

The president and his supporters are blaming the wrong people for his healthcare woes — they should look in the mirror.

To listen to the White House and its supporters, in and out of the media, you would think that opposition to “Obama-care” is the hobgoblin of a few small minds on the right. Racists, fascists, Neanderthals, the whole “Star Wars” cantina of boogeymen and cranks stand opposed to much-needed reform.

Left out of this fairly naked effort to demonize a great many with the actions of a tiny few is the simple fact that Obama-care — however defined — has been tanking in the polls for weeks. President Obama’s handling of healthcare is unpopular with a majority of Americans and a majority of self-proclaimed independents.

Focusing on the town halls certainly has its merits, but if you actually wanted Obama-care to pass, casting a majority of Americans as being stooges of racist goons may not be the best way to go.

Imagine if President George W. Bush, in his effort to partially privatize Social Security, had insisted that the “time for talking is over.” Picture, if you will, the Bush White House asking Americans to turn in their e-mails, in the pursuit of “fishy” dissent. Conjure a scenario under which then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) derided critics as “evil-mongers” the way Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently described town hall protesters. Or if then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Texas) had called vocal critics “un-American” the way Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) and Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) did last week, or if White House strategist Karl Rove had been Sir Spam-a-lot instead of David Axelrod.

L.A. Times
8/18/9